Vienna, Part II: The Eighteen-Sixties
During a period of Austrian decline as a great power, writes Tudor Edwards, Vienna flourished in an atmosphere of expansive gaiety.
Viennese social life, in the first year of the decade 1860, is reflected in the Richard Strauss-Hofmannsthal opera Arabella, which, however, was not produced until 1933. Yet, although it provides a bird’s-eye view of the upper-class milieu, it gives little or no hint of the splendours and miseries of the period. Outside the pillared and car-touched Baroque palaces, flunkeys stood in three-cornered hats and fur coats braided with gold, carrying tall staffs surmounted with large golden crowns.